With the Rams completely out of contention this season, and everyone already looking ahead to the Rams Super Bowl (also known as The NFL Draft), it is already time to take a look at where the Rams roster stands for 2012 and beyond. Today, we are going to take a look at the defensive backfield.
2012 Starters: Corners – Bradley Fletcher, Ron Bartell. Safeties – Darian Stewart, Quintin Mikell
This unit has the most question marks going into the offseason based on health problems. Ron Bartell’s injury was serious enough to be career ending and Fletcher should be back to full strength, but not for 12 months after the injury. But without any evidence to the contrary, I am going to put them both back in the starting lineup as they are both under contract for next season. Bartell is much more in question than Fletcher.
Mikell will be back next season as he is on a long term contract and so will Stewart. I will pencil him into the other starting safety as I think he has shown enough and continues to improve to start (again depending on the scheme, a new defensive coordinator might want a larger, more strong safety type).
Jerome Murphy is also on IR, and should come back as the 3rd corner. Josh Gordy has been a revelation and possibly saved the Rams defensive backfield this season. The Rams should do everything they can to bring him back. I’m happy with Justin King, Nate Ness, Brian Jackson and Marquis Johnson coming back to battle for the 5th corner spot and fill in until the starters get healthy. Al Harris should be retiring, and Rod Hood shouldn’t be back either.
Craig Dahl is one of my (and lots of others) whipping boy and if Steve Spagnuolo won’t be back, he won’t either. He has the skillset of a linebacker in a safety’s body. He has no awareness in the open field to cover the deepest receiver, often getting caught up. James Butler also will be gone.
This one is very difficult to call at this point of the season, it is impossible to tell how Bartell, Fletcher and Murphy will come back next season off the IR. So, I will continue to pencil them back in for next year as they are under contract and I haven’t heard any reason why they would not be ready to go. So, at this point, the Rams will not need to acquire a CB in the offseason, just pray for better health. The Rams will only need to pick up two back up safeties. Just two who are not Butler and Dahl. The Rams can